Monday, November 26, 2012

Homemade tater tots (Secret Recipe Club)

Homemade tater tots: Don't bother to buy them frozen -- you can make them easily from leftover mashed potatoes.

Homemade tater tots from leftover mashed potatoes
Homemade tater tots
It's time once again for another reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club (SRC).

Here's how the SRC works: each month I am assigned another member's blog (a different one each month). I then pick any recipe from that blogger's site, make it and write about it here. There's also a link hop at the end of the post so that I (and you) can check out all the other participating blogs and their great recipes.

The blog I got to explore and cook from this month is Finding Joy in My Kitchen, written by the very prolific SnoWhite, who notes that her blog is all about "finding joy in cooking wholesome meals." Believe me, if you're looking for some good wintertime comfort food, you will have lots of choices from SnoWhite.

I love that Sno started her blog simply to show her mother, living far away, what she was cooking; my blog started similarly after I moved away from North Carolina. See how the SRC brings cooks together?

As Sno's site has so many great recipes (example: eight, count 'em EIGHT, different lasagna recipes!), it was definitely difficult for me to decide which one to choose. But I've recently been cooking out of The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making (as part of the From Scratch Club's virtual book club), which has me focused on making my own version of foods that we often buy pre-packaged.

So when I saw Sno's recipe for homemade tater tots, I knew I'd found my match!

This is one of the only recipes I can honestly say I made twice before posting about it -- but that was largely because I made way too many potatoes and didn't want to waste them. But that did give me an opportunity to perfect my technique a bit (and make a lot of extra tots, which freeze nicely).

I adapted Sno's recipe just bit; she used crushed cornflakes for the breading while I used crushed potato chips, to try to get more of that original tot fried flavor and texture (without the frying). Additionally, I found a had to use a little bit of egg white on the potato balls to really get the chip crumbs to stick well.

Homemade tater tots from leftover mashed potatoes
Sure, you could use a food processor, but then you'd miss the workout!

I loved the timing of all this, too, because I recently posted about making homemade burger buns. Together with these tots, you could have your own healthier version of a fast-food joint, right in your own kitchen.

And, as if you weren't already stuffed enough from Thanksgiving, this tot recipe would be a great use for leftover mashed potatoes.

Check the fridge, stat!

Homemade Tater Tots (adapted from Finding Joy in my Kitchen)
Note: These tots freeze well.

2 large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon flour
salt and pepper
1 egg white
finely crushed potato chips (about 3 cups)

Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover by a few inches with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender.

Drain the potatoes and cool slightly (so you can handle them). Push the potatoes through a ricer (if you don't have a ricer, just use a potato masher to mash them finely) into a large bowl. Mix in the flour and salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare a baking sheet (I line mine with parchment paper).

Set up an assembly line for yourself: potatoes, egg white (in a small bowl), potato chip crumbs and baking sheet. Take one spoonful (just your regular spoon) of potato, shape it into a ball or cylinder (balls are easier), use your fingers to coat it with a little bit of egg white, roll the ball around in the crumbs and place it on the tray. Continue to make tots until you've used up all the potatoes or you've just grown sick of making tots.

Bake the tots for about 15-20 minutes or until golden.


  1. Tater tots were the only good thing about school lunches, these look so fun!

  2. Homemade tater tots? Love the idea -- how fun, and healthier!

  3. Oh - yea!! So glad you enjoyed these -- and great idea to use the potato chips. Now, you're making me crave tater tot hotdish. Thanks for your sweet comments too; I so enjoy meeting you and the others involved in SRC.

  4. This looks great! Knowing my crew, I would only have to take the potatoes, smoosh them into balls, roll in the crushed potato chips and serve just like that.

  5. I've been wanting to make these for so long! SnoWhite has a great blog :) Your tots turned out so beautifully - can you call a tot beautiful? Maybe...

    Happy reveal day!

  6. Wow homemade Tots! They have got to be yummy. They is a local hamburger joint in town called The Purple Turtle. Their Tot's are awesome--a little greasy but good. I always have leftover potatoes, I'll have to give these a try!
    Fun SRC pick.

  7. I loved tater tots as a kid. My husband, however, thought they were just something made up by the lunch ladies at school. I'll have to give these a try!! Great pick this month :)

  8. Oh how fun!! I bet they were so yummy! I used to love tater tots when I was little but now they make me want to throw them across the room. But I bet homemade ones would be awesome!!

  9. YUM!!! I love the concept of making things at home...and they usually taste better too! Great SRC pick!

  10. Fabulous job on these tater tots! I've always love SnoWhite's blog..she sure is one clever lady! :-)

  11. Are you kidding me? These are brilliant!!! I. Must. Make. Them.
    I'll be sure to check out SnoWhite's blog too. You did her homemade tater tots proud! Thanks for picking this for SRC. I LOVE it!!!
    Renee - Kudos Kitchen

  12. Thanks to all the SRC visitors for the tot love!

  13. Oh my gosh, these look so good! I have such a weakness for tater tots.

  14. Yum! these sound wonderful. I wonder if it would work if you shredded them like hashbrowns, cooked slightly and then mixed with flour....I should try this. I'm a fellow group D'er...just now getting around to visiting the blogs.

    1. Kirstin, I thought of that and I think they would turn out better / a bit more like the tots of my school lunch youth. But I'm keeping the potato chips. :-)

  15. ooo i bet that if you used different flavor potatos chips things could get really fun! love the chip switch

  16. I just made these today. I substituted about a cup of the potato chips with panko, mostly because I had that much panko left and I needed the container it was in. I also think it lightened up the tots a wee bit. I’m going to have to experiment with the salt & pepper amounts – I agree the recipe needs some, but even thinking I was on the careful side, I still think I put too much of each in. I do think it will be fun to experiment with other flavors too – some hot pepper powder in the potato-chip-crust, for instance, might be fun.

    My first run -

    1. I tried to view your photo and was denied access. :-( Keep me posted on which methods work the best for you. One of these days I'm going to try shredding raw potatoes instead of using mashed, too.

    2. Hopefully this link will work better :)

    3. YESSSSS! They look excellent -- thanks for sharing!